How to Keep Your Sunroom Cool In The Summer?

Sunrooms can be the best of both worlds. You get the sunlight and a beautiful view of the outdoors without all the heat, humidity, creepy-crawly bugs, and infuriating mosquitoes of a Texas summer. But keeping your sunroom cool can be difficult without a sunroom ventilation system and good insulation. You want to let the sunlight and the view in without letting in the heat.  But the sunlight brings heat in with it. And when it’s not just sunny but also hot and humid outside, it makes it even harder to keep your sunroom nice and comfortable.  If you are planning on adding a sunroom to your home or building a new home with a sunroom, there are some important considerations to be aware of during the planning and building.  Certain things that can have a huge impact on summer comfort in your sunroom are easier and cheaper to build in than to go back and add. If you already have a sunroom but you’re finding it gets uncomfortably warm for you in the summer, there are still some great things you can do that will help without having to resort to potentially expensive rebuilding and replacement. 

How Do You Cool A Hot Sunroom?

Insulation

Normally we think of insulation as important for staying warm because it keeps the heat in. This is true, but the opposite is also true. What insulation really does is block heat from moving either way. So insulation is just as important for blocking the outside heat from getting in, which helps keep your sunroom nice and cool. When you build your sunroom, one of the key things that you can include in the plan is good insulation. The tricky thing about insulating a sunroom is that the whole point of a sunroom is to let the sunlight and the view in… …and that means a lot of glass.

Insulated Glass

Sunroom glass tends to be custom cut, so it can be expensive to replace later. There are different types of heat-reducing glass treatments such as low-E and tinting, but if you want the best insulation for your sunroom, you really need energy-efficient multi-pane glass. This glass has at least two panes with an insulating layer (usually of inert gas) in between. This creates a barrier that keeps heat and humidity out. The highest-rated energy-efficient glass panes usually have three or more panes with a layer of inert gas in between each. But even if you already have regular single-pane glass in your sunroom windows, you can still have tinting or a low-E coating added to them. This lets sunlight and the view in while reducing the amount of heat that gets in with the sunlight.   Adding drapes, shades, or blinds that you can close when the sun is at its brightest will also help keep some of the heat out.  The downside is that these will block the view when closed and may obstruct your view somewhat even when open. Whatever kind of heat reduction method you choose for your glass, it’s important to always consider using tempered glass for safety. Tempered glass is harder to break than non-tempered glass, and it’s less dangerous if it is broken because it breaks up into glass pebbles instead of shards.

Wall And Floor Insulation

Though there’s usually less wall space in your sunroom than in your other rooms, your sunroom walls are still a potential area for cool, conditioned air to get out and the hot, humid air to get in. When building a sunroom, you’ll want to make sure that you install adequate insulation in your walls to combat this, so make sure to use insulation with a good R-value–which is a measure of its heat flow reduction. Your sunroom floor is another area where your nice, cool, conditioned indoor air can seep out and be lost. Good insulation helps here too, but it’s always a good idea to consider building a vapor barrier into your floor to keep condensation and moisture away from your insulation and flooring material. If you don’t already have good R-value insulation in your existing sunroom, you can always go back and have it installed or upgraded. But the demolition and removal can make it cost a bit more than building it in from the beginning.  The good news is that, even so, it should pay for itself over the years in reduced electric bills.

A Good Sunroom Ventilation System

Airflow

If your existing sunroom doesn’t have a ventilation system, keeping the warmer air moving and not trapped in the sunroom will help improve your comfort levels, and a classic ceiling fan is helpful for this.  In a pinch, even just opening the door to the main living area and using floor fans to draw conditioned air in can help make a difference.  The downside here is that fans can be noisy or somewhat annoying, and an open door will make your central AC work harder.

HVAC System

When planning on building or adding a sunroom, one option is to simply build your home’s central air right into the sunroom. Another solution is ductless mini-split installation–which is basically a small, ductless independent air conditioning system for your sunroom. Ductless mini-splits are very flexible and easily scalable for the exact size of your sunroom. Also, because they don’t use ductwork, they’re a particularly energy-efficient way to both ventilate and air condition your sunroom. For an existing sunroom, you can also extend your home’s central HVAC in to cool and ventilate it–just make sure that the additional square footage of the sunroom doesn’t exceed your central HVAC’s intended capacity.  Also, for an existing sunroom, a  ductless mini-split installation is a great solution because installing a mini-split is usually relatively easy. It functions as an excellent sunroom ventilation system for good airflow, and it gives your sunroom its own private energy-efficient air conditioning!

AC Installation in Flower Mound, TX

Just click here or call us at (972) 362-4135 for more information on a sunroom ventilation system to cool your hot sunroom. At Strittmatters, we have offered HVAC installation services and AC replacement services to Flower Mound residents for over 40 years, so we’ve seen it and done it all!

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